A TRUE measure of success
for any celebrity is having two biographies published simultaneously.
This is what happened to Rod during the late summer of 1977
when the first and only authorised Rod Stewart biography hit
the shops. Peter Burton's officially backed 'A
Life On The Town' faced stiff competition from Tony Jasper's
unauthorised 'Rod Stewart'
which was deliberately published the same month. With both
books competing for attention, Billy Gaff - Rod's manager
at the time - was seething. However, there was little he could
do. The unauthorised book contained nothing libellous and
Gaff could not claim any rights to the photographs. The net
effect was that the fans had a choice, although it is more
than likely most would have snapped up both books.
With Rod a permanent fixture on the charts in both Britain
and America during 1978 - 1979, it is odd that there were
not a barrage of books cashing in on his popularity. Commercially
speaking, these years were probably his most successful ever,
yet only one book emerged - and that was German! In fact between
1978 and 1990, just one book was published in English! The
lack of Rod Stewart reading available over this lengthy period
was frustrating for fans and did little for Rod's credibility.
In the ever-growing rock book industry, virtually every major
artist had an up to date biography available but Rod!
Coinciding with the resurgence of Rod's career in the early
nineties with the albums Vagabond Heart and Unplugged
and Seated, publishers appeared to realise there was a
glaring void in the market. In 1991, the first biography for
nine years was published with great success and a new book
followed each year until 1994. The most recent, Lloyd Bradley's
Tells A Story', was published last year. Meanwhile, American
author Edward Wincentsen is working on 'The
Rod Stewart Companion', which will be out later this year.
Following a gap of 23 years, there is a powerful case for
a new officially backed biography. With commitment from management,
a no-holds barred attitude, first-hand accounts from family,
fellow musicians, fans, friends and most importantly, from
Rod himself, such a book would be a huge seller. Meanwhile,
we will have to be content with un-authorised accounts that
can sometimes be guilty of over-praise or even worse, are
so lightweight, that the reader gains no real insight whatsoever.
Any official book should seek to avoid these pitfalls and
tell the story warts and all.
John Gray, spring 2000
All books in chronological order: (click
for more information)
This feature provides details of each book about Rod to
date. It includes the essential details you need, should you
wish to track them down, as all but the most recent are out
of print. Please note that all information refers to UK editions
unless otherwise stated.
Rod Stewart Story (1976)
Stewart And The Changing Faces (1976)
Biography In Words And Pictures (1976)
Life On The Town (1977)
Stewart Annual (1978)
- Rod Stewart
- A Biography
Visual Documentary (1992) << recommended book
- The Biography
(1994) << recommended book
Picture Tells A Story (1999)
Rod Stewart Companion (2000)
- Rod Stewart / Faces: Last Orders Please